Thursday Profile: Erica Zimny

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Erica Zimny is the managing attorney of the Jackson Office of Legal Services of South Central Michigan, where she advocates on behalf of low-income and underrepresented individuals both in and out of the courtroom in the areas of housing, consumer, family, public benefits, and elder law. She currently manages a staff of four attorneys, a secretary, and a paralegal in addition to handling her own caseload. 

Zimny serves as a member of the Representative Assembly of the State Bar of Michigan for the Fourth Circuit.

 She joined the U.S. Army after high school and, after completing her time in service, went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. Zimny eventually attended law school with the goal of practicing as a legal aid attorney. Celebrating her tenth year in Michigan, Zimny settled in Battle Creek, where she met her husband. 

In addition to her legal work, Zimny and her husband own and operate a small residential garbage company.

As a Buffalo, N.Y. native, Zimny is passionate about her chicken wings and the Buffalo Bills. She also enjoys camping and traveling.

 

 

 

 By Jo Mathis

Legal News
 
Currently reading …“Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety” by Eric Schlosser.
 
What is your most treasured material possession? My sewing machine.
 
What advice do you have for someone considering law school? Talk to and observe lawyers in action – know what they really do before making the decision to become one. 
 
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be? A restaurateur or chef, maybe a gardener.
 
Favorite local hangouts: Rooster’s Coney Island, Jackson Coffee Company.
 
Your proudest moment as a lawyer? Winning an eviction case for a young mother and her three small children by directed verdict. Getting power restored to a ten-unit building of low-income tenants and their families.
 
Your worst moment as a lawyer? Knowing somebody was wronged and being unable to fix the wrong because of the limited resources legal aid attorneys have.
 
What is your happiest childhood memory? Camping at Allegany State Park (New York) during the summers.
 
Which things do you not like to do? Waste time; be stuck in my office on a bright, sunny day.
 
What would surprise people about your job? The number of individuals who walk in the door (or call) for assistance on a daily basis. And the number of those individuals who truly have sympathetic and legitimate legal issues who truly cannot afford an attorney.
 
What do you wish someone would invent? Teleportation.
 
If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be? My dog. He lives a stress free life—he never has to worry about what he’s going to wear, what time he’s going to get home to cook dinner, or what he’s going to say in his closing argument. He always seems so happy!
 
What’s the most awe-inspiring place you have visited? That’s a difficult question. Perhaps the Holocaust Museum in D.C.,; the caves at Mammoth Cave, KY; canoeing across a lake in the Adirondack mountains in the morning while the loons call.
 
What’s your greatest achievement? Graduating from high school, undergrad, and law school in a family where neither parent finished high school.
 
 
 
If you could have one super power, what would it be? Immediate lie detection. 
 
What would you say to your 16-year-old self? Study longer and study harder — but don’t take life too seriously.
 
What one thing do you wish people knew about your work? Two things: 1. How great, how supportive, and how fun all of my co-workers are in spite of having to deal with really serious legal issues all of the time. 2. How serious the issues my clients face on a regular basis really are—most of my clients are at risk of being homeless and are in the midst of issues that can really affect the family unit.
 
Favorite joke: That would probably be too inappropriate to share!
 
What is guaranteed to make you laugh? My co-workers.
 
Must-see TV: I don’t really watch much TV. I’m more of a movie fan.
 
What’s your biggest regret? Eating that donut for breakfast!
 
What word do you overuse? It has four letters. It is also inappropriate to share.
 
What’s one thing you would like to learn to do? Raise a hippopotamus.
 
What is something most people don’t know about you? I used to be a mechanic in the Army. I also like skeletons.
 
If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? My mom, my grandmother, and my niece. Three wonderful people who inspire me to be who I am but who I rarely get to see in one setting.
 
Can’t-live-without technology: I can live without all of it. I would be totally at home in a remote cabin in the woods with no power and no plumbing.
 
Favorite CD: Any music that’s playing when I turn on the radio. I don’t discriminate. My co-workers can tell you that! I think they enjoy it best when I play classic country in the office.
 
Favorite law-related movie: Wasn’t there a lawyer in “Hot to Trot”?
 
What’s the best advice you ever received? Be yourself.
 
If you can help it, where will you never return? Jail! I swear – I didn’t do it!
 
What do you drive? A Volkswagen Beetle.
 
What is your motto? “Keep on truckin.’”
 
Where would you like to be when you’re 90? Surrounded by a large and loving family in a remote cabin in the woods. 
 
What would you like carved onto your tombstone? She came. She saw. She went.

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